Retrieved from: journal.thriveglobal.com
About a month ago, one of my group mates at NUGSE and I did a presentation on the impact of social media pages to university admissions. The recent scandals around data abuses (Facebook and Cambridge Analytica) reminded and encouraged me to refresh this information in this blog.
Being one of the fresh inventions in human history, the role of social media (SM) is undeniably increasing in all aspects including education. Here in education, it is not only for learning or teaching, but also the SM seems to be convenient tool for university admission committees to recruit students. In 2016, Kaplan Test Prep surveyed 365 universities across the US on how they use candidates’ SM pages; Relying on the conclusions of the study, Kaplan Test Prep suggests students to ‘filter’ the materials before posting. According to the results of the study (Kaplan Test Prep, 2016), 40% of the university admission officers in the US answered that they browse candidates’ SM pages to get information that is not in the application documents. Unsurprisingly, the study shows that Facebook and Twitter are the most popular websites among admission officers. Kaplan also found that almost in 50% of the cases SM pages of candidates were helpful to students’ admission while in cases 42% it had negative influences. The examples of ‘useful’ SM posts were mostly about students’ social projects, personal and academic achievements that they shared online. Controversial opinions, uncareful language use, sharing picture of “brandishing weapons” and others were among the factors that made admissions committees to reject the acceptance offer.
Of course, such researches are valuable, at least to raise our awareness about the issue. But how about the idea of making acceptance decisions (partly) based on one’s SM media page? In my experience, my Facebook friends’ pages hardly tell everything about their personal and academic lives, but they indeed reflect one’s area of involvement and activeness. In other words, people sometimes share the information (whether it is positive or negative) that they might not include in their application documents or tell about in interviews. On the other hand, making conclusions looking at the social network page might be dangerous because sometimes people can accidentally share awkward things that they do not really know or care about. If the candidate is a type of person who do not use SM or publish anything at all , somebody who is surfing the Internet misunderstand it as passiveness. So, this assumption, that everyone shares her or his best moments or the thing that one shares necessarily reflects one’s real life, can lead to misconclusions.
What do you think: should social media page of candidates be considered in university admission process? Would you browse students’ media publications if you were an admission officer of some university?
Schaffer R., (2017, February 10). Kaplan Test Prep Survey: College Admissions Officers Say Social Media Increasingly Affects Applicants’ Chances. Retrieved from: http://press.kaptest.com/press-releases/kaplan-test-prep-survey-college-admissions-officers-say-social-media-increasingly-affects-applicants-chances